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Discussion # 1:

Flow Shop

Key Concept Explanation

Flow shop is considered as production of identical parts using multiple machines, where the single robot moves the parts across other machines.  The parts are mainly handled by machines and closely following the production process. Each process follows the specified intervals, and are selected by calculations (Che, Kats & Levner, 2017). If the machines would not follow the scheduled process, defective products could be produced. When one machine is finished, the produced parts can be transported to another machine without any lost time along the process until the whole production process is complete (Che, Kats & Levner, 2017). When company wants to produce large quantities of products or services, flow shop would be used, as it would save the money in variable costs and especially because of its simplicity (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016).
Flow shops are easily managed through use of routing, scheduling and the control is accomplished because the end products or services do not have to be always monitored or controlled (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016). I am interested in Flow Shop research, because the last employment was in the mill warehouse, where some parts of the production process was done using machines. I learned that only part of the production was done as flow shop, as most of the job still needed skilled workers, which totally did not fit the flow shop description.


According to our text book, the flow shop is described as a transformation system, which is very close in nature to continuous process, although in flow shop the discrete product or service is produced. Continuous process on the other hand does not have naturally divisible products. Which means that the canning, bottling or such must still happen for the products to be divisible. Flow shop creates products or services, which are already in complete stage, and there is always a need for automation, using large or specialized equipment (Meredith & Shafer, 2016). The manufacturing warehouse has number of operations, which need to complete the jobs in the way, using the same route (Zhang, Wang, Zhong & Hu, 2013)

Main advantage of flow shop is the low cost-per unit, due to use of specialized equipment, purchase of bulk, lower labor cost due to high use of machinery, the facility utilization, relatively small need for inventory, which also creates easier managerial control. In addition to mentioned advantages, also the process to produce the product or service is shorter because many processes or tasks are overlapping, producing the product or service very quickly (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016). The cost to purchase materials is also lower because the rate at which each product or service is produced. The costs are lower in use of labor, since less skilled operators are necessary, which also means less supervising is needed. The facilities are often carefully planned to fit all machines, which makes the warehouses or shops more efficient (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016).

The disadvantages of the flow shop however can bring in some great setbacks. It is very difficult to change the rate at which each product or service is generated if necessary. Each time is carefully planned, so if more products or services are necessary, it will require either additional time, laying off employees or even temporary closures (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016). If the slight change in design of the product must be made, the time to adjust the machines can create huge setbacks in production process. Therefore, many times the changes are not made, or are very infrequent (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016). The absenteeism among employees is also big due to boredom which the automation creates. The employees get tired of the same task very quick, especially because the work is usually very repetitive in nature (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016). Another disadvantage happens when the machinery breaks. If the machine is not fixed as soon as it happens, this can bring whole operation to a complete stop, creating huge losses. When the new setup is made, the complete planning, design and installation is very complicated and the cost to obtain the specialized equipment is very high (Meredith & Shaffer, 2016).

Research on scheduling problems suggests, that many times the time it takes to complete a job is defined by “a general non-increasing function of its scheduled position (Sun, Cui, Chen, Wang & He, 2013).” There is a possibility that to minimize the completion time, the approximation algorithms, based on the single machine schedule must be done, to find out the worst-case scenario (Sun et al., 2013). For example, the scheduling of different jobs on different machines can create a scheduling problem. To eliminate or lower the problem in scheduling, the job processing time will be calculated using the weighted completion time, the total weighted discounted completion time, make span minimization and the total completion time minimization (Sun et al., 2013). The complications in flow shop scheduling can bring in increased costs, they can put the service on hold or even make business to fail (Shabtay & Oron, 2016).

Article Summary

The selection of the main article was based on the disadvantages of the flow shop. The research in this article talks about difficulties that flow shop creates when the machines are voluntarily left idle. Idle with products still waiting in the machine area. This creates synchronous flow shop problems. Synchronous flow shop is a flow shop where each job goes from one machine to the next at the same time (Briskorn, Knust & Waldherr, 2016). The maximum processing time must be determined to figure out the exact time of when all machines are finished on current jobs. Only when the current jobs are finished, they can be transferred to another machine, however sometimes that time is hard to determine if machine must sit idle. This could be because of the assigned workers doing tasks at other machines, or inability to allocate buffer storage, or unable to place the products or services anywhere else in the warehouse or shop. Therefore, the machine sits idle, waiting for the whole production process to complete when the next machine becomes available (Briskorn et al., 2016). When scheduling or synchronous process is experiencing any problems, the scheduler must decide on what will happen with the problematic task. Scheduler can decide whether the job will be accepted, rejected or outsourced, however that makes the end-product more expensive (Briskorn et al., 2016).

Biblical Integration

The technology has allowed us to expand the business to unmeasurable. It was unheard of in the past that machine would be able to do the task for a human. Whether technology can replace the people force altogether is at question. Flow shops are mostly using machines or robots to do most of its jobs, but the human still must be present to ensure that the job is done right. The question arises, do we idolize the technology so much that it goes above the Almighty God? Do we allow ourselves to regulate our lives with artificial intelligence? This is what could become from all businesses around us. Where does image of God fit in this picture? Will His image get distorted because of all the wonderful technology around us? Genesis 1:27 says that the humanity is created in the image of God. The robot discovery could potentially hurt us in the future. Especially because we are all created special, with individual needs, individual DNA and there is no machine or robot out there that can replace the flesh and blood in us.


It is very important to understand how the flow shop works in real world setting and whether or how it can be implemented in the business. The flow shop can be used if the business has exact product or service in mind and is not planning on changing its design very often, especially due to complication in the process. The businesses who want to start a flow shop should have enough funding, because the specialized machinery is costly and requires complicated installation and monitoring. The research of flow shop suggested how important it is to know the scheduling computations and the importance of understanding of the problems associated with production using this system.

Annotated Bibliography

Briskorn, D., Knust, S., & Waldherr, S. (2016;2017;). Synchronous flow shop problems: How      much can we       gain by leaving machines idle? Omega, 72,   15.10.1016/

This article has talked about the synchronous flow shop problems, especially when they are left idle. The research on this problematic was done in this article. The idle machines, those that have completed the task but could not move the produced parts to another machine create time scheduling problems. Article talks about the ways the idle time can be minimized and whether the production process could potentially have rather costly consequences because of it. The researchers have suggested that the idle time should be lowered as much as it can be or outsourced.

Che, A., Kats, V., & Levner, E. (2017). An efficient bicriteria algorithm for stable robotic flow    shop scheduling. European Journal of Operational Research, 260(3), 964-971. 10.1016/j.ejor.2017.01.033

This article talks about the efficiency in flow shop scheduling. This seems to be a problem, when specialized algorithms must be used to determine exact production times for individual product and service and complying with all task in the process. The researchers use specialized algorithms and theorems to confirm the best computation of the scheduling, to ensure the regular flow process.

Meredith, J., & Shafer, S. (2016). Operations and Supply Chain Management for MBAs. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2016.

Shabtay, D., & Oron, D. (2016). Proportionate flow-shop scheduling with rejection. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 67(5), 752-769. 10.1057/jors.2015.95

This article also talks about the disadvantage of flow shop and its scheduling. The scheduling is many times outsourced as it is unable to complete the specific tasks. The management must be aware of the complications scheduling generates and what tools they can use to make the coordination of the scheduling economical and with less rejection.

Sun, L., Cui, K., Chen, J., Wang, J., & He, X. (2013). Research on permutation flow shop            scheduling problems with general position-dependent learning effects. Annals of          Operations Research, 211(1), 473. 10.1007/s10479-013-1481-6

Research on permutation flow shop scheduling talks about the realistic scheduling situations, where the actual processing time of a specific job is dependent on other factors such as completion time, the makespan, the total weighted completion time, and the total weighted discounted completion time. This research shows the exact computations on the completion times specific to each job task.

Zhang, Z., Wang, W., Zhong, S., & Hu, K. (2013). flow shop scheduling with reinforcement        learning. Asia-    Pacific Journal of Operational Research, 30(5),       4_1.10.1142/S0217595913500140

The flow shop scheduling with reinforcement learning discusses the flow shop and its operations. The article talks about the artificial intelligence use and the scheduling problems at any possible level of the production process. The use of algorithms is discussed in this article as well.

Discussion # 2:

Key Concept

When discussing global trends in the business world, we think of global trade and all the countries that go come together to create these trends. Global trade trends have to do with the balance of global economic power among countries (Ahearn, 2013). These economic powers among countries help account for the rising shares in global GDP, manufacturing, and trade (Ahearn, 2013). This is why it is important to focus on global trends among trade because it helps determine which issues a country has to address when it comes to imports and exports. Global trends doesn’t only focus on trade but also on general economics across countries. Global trends is something that should be followed to help a country discover economic growth though different avenues such as tax cuts, increased spending and a wave of deregulation (Donnan, 2017). I found this topic very interesting because we are bound to see a shift in global trends in the United States soon. With President Trump issuing tariffs on international countries, I am curious to see how global trends are affected and to see how imports and exports are affected.


When trying to understand global trends, it can seem like a lot because it encompasses a lot of points within it. The textbook touches on global trends through global trades and how the in the United States, exports have grown but imports have grown at a higher rate (Meredith, & Shafer, 2016, p. 18). Because of this high growth in imports, it leads the US in becoming the largest debtor among all other nations in the world. This all stems back to a couple years ago when the trade growth among countries was developed. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, free trade among countries were referred to as the engine of growth because it helped develop today’s economically advanced nations (Kumar, 2013). Those times helped set the global trend of trade among nations and helped economic growth. Trade among Asian countries such as China grew which helped lead to the increase in imports in the US. Though the times have changed and there is a change in global trends especially among trade. A growing sentiment in the west for a country to protect its domestic industries from foreign competition has led to a drastic decline in global trade since 2011 (Wignaraja & Zhuang, 2017). This feeling among citizens and governments within their respect country has led to the global trend of trade among Asian countries to decline. The outlook among those watching this global trend is that Asia’s era of export led growth will soon end (Wignaraja & Zhuang, 2017).

Article Summary

The article, “Trump is losing his war on the US trade deficit. Does it matter?” by Shawn Donnan touches on how President Trump hails the soaring US economy but fails to mention the global trend that the US deficit has been surging. Within the first year of Trump’s presidency, there has been a double digit increase in the US deficit. Global trends also refers to the imbalance of trade which can lead to deficit for a country when they import more than what they export. This is the issue that the US is struggling with at the moment. Most economist don’t think a trade deficit is that important because it means that US is growing and able to buy more from the world (Donnan, 2018). Although this may be true, it is similar to the conditions right before the recession in 2008/2009. These imbalances will most likely lead the Trump administration to crack down on countries such as China and to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Donnan, 2018). The global trend that the US being a large importer may change under these changes under the new administration. Obviously it is too early to say the global trend will change but altering trade among countries such as China will likely lead to changes in the trend of trading among countries.

Biblical Integration

When considering global trends, a country usually has to make a decision regarding their economy so they could put themselves in an advantageous state. We also in our lives have to make decisions so we can put ourselves in a position to succeed. In Proverbs 3:5-6, it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Every decision we make; we need to trust God. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” It’s easy to follow the trend of the world and it may seem the right move since everyone else is growing from it, but following the path God has set is always the best option.  Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” As Christians, trusting in God will lead us down the right path and help us change the trend if needed.


Looking at global trends, it can be seen being applied in the United States today. With Trump as president, he has sought to change the trade imbalance among countries such as China (Donnan, 2018). Recently President Trump has issued tariffs on international countries importing certain products to the US. With US being the number one debtor among all nations, it would seem ideal to fix that. The US sought to change that global trend by trying to increase exports so more money is brought in domestically. It will be interesting to see how the changes the US has made will work out and how it will affect global trends.

Annotated Bibliography


TRENDS AND ISSUES FOR CONGRESS*. Journal of Current Issues in Globalization, 6(1), 135-171. Retrieved from

This article is about the global economic landscape is changing and it is being led by   developing countries such as China, India and Brazil. These countries are growing economically in a way that poises a challenge for the United States and its opportunities and its stance as leader of the global economy. There are 4 global trends in the economy that are discussed in the economy. One is the balance of global economic power is changing from the US and Europe to developing countries. Another is rising economic powers are becoming important in the international economic world. Third is that the distinction between advanced and developing countries is becoming smaller. Last is that even though the US economy is reacting positively to the rising economic powers, not all Americans are benefitting equally to this change.

Donnan, S. (2017). Policy uncertainty threatens trade growth, says world

bank.FT.Com, Retrieved from

This article is about how political uncertainty is slowing trade growth among countries. The World Bank has indicated that this slow in trade growth is due to Trump become the President of the US. The global trend among international trend has shown that is was growing below historic trends for the past five years. It was found that the slow in trade growth has been affecting both developed and developing countries. In previous years, global trade growth grew at an annual rate of 6.53 per cent between 1995and 2014. The change in this trade growth has brought out the idea that is has no benefit for the US to continue to have big factories assembling American products that are made up of foreign components.

Donnan, S. (2018). Trump is losing his war on the US trade deficit. does it

matter?FT.Com, Retrieved from

This article is about how President Trump downplays the US trade deficit when he discusses the economy and how it has soared under his first year. In reality, the trade deficit has grown double in size since Trump became president. The large deficit is due to the imbalance in trade among the US and other countries. The US is importing way more than it is exporting which is causing the deficit to occur at a large rate. The Trump administration has sought to fix this issue but looking into trade deals with China and also looking to restructure the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Wignaraja, G., Zhuang, J. (2017). Asia should seize opportunity to lead global

trade. FT.Com, Retrieved from

This article is about how the era of Asian being a leader in the growth of exporting is declining. The decline has been occurring due to the sentiment in the west that a country needs to protect its domestic industries from foreign competition. This feeling among countries is to bring jobs back to the home country instead of business utilize foreign countries but importing their goods. The global trend is showing that the demand for imports from Asia has been dying down. The article then goes on to speak on how Asia can once again capitalize on exports to other countries. China is one of the countries that help restore Asia to being the leader in exporting by working with developing countries. Another method mentioned is that Asia should trade in services which are usually restricting or have certain skill gaps.

Kumar, S. (2013). Emerging trends and patterns of trade: An economic analysis of

SAARC. Journal of International Economics, 4(1), 51-62. Retrieved from

This article is about the different trends and patterns of trade in South Asian countries. It was found that these countries in South Asia do trade with other countries in the world but not among themselves. India is a country that can change this and become a big leader among the South Asian countries. This shift in trade can lead a global trend among South Asian countries and provide an opportunity for trade growth within their economies. With these countries working together in trade, they can gain a considerable amount of bargaining power when it comes to trade with the outside world.

Meredith, J. R., & Shafer, S. M. (2016). Operations and supply chain management for

MBAs (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 9781119239536.

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